What if online students take on the responsibility: Students’ cognitive presence and peer facilitation techniques

Ye Chen, Jing Lei, Jiaming Cheng


The purpose of this study was to investigate: (a) the characteristics of online students’ cognitive presence in a peer-facilitated discussion environment, and (b) the peer facilitation techniques that enhance cognitive presence development. In this study, we examined 738 discussion messages. Analytic methods included both qualitative and quantitative content analysis. The findings revealed that although cognitive presence was detected in most discussion messages, they aggregated at a lower level. The involvement of peer facilitators was found to correlate with students’ higher-level cognitive presence. In addition, we found that types of initiating questions asked by peer facilitators positively affected the level of cognitive presence. We also explored the facilitation techniques used by peer facilitators that aim to promote students’ cognitive presence. 


Cognitive presence, peer facilitation, online instruction, discussion

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i1.1348